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"Parents are a child's first teachers," explains Michelle Figlar, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children. The more we can get resources into the hands of parents, the more we help develop an infant's brain and lay the foundation for early learning."

Research has shown that when parents simply speak to their infants, they promote language learning. Children who are read to in their infancy learn to read much more intuitively, finding they can instinctively sound words out.

To enhance learning opportunities for infants and toddlers, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh developed Learning Starts Here, a year-long initiative to help parents and caregivers build a foundation for future school success. Parents are invited to choose from a list of carefully selected activities, such as reading to their child for at least fifteen minutes a day, attending the Library's Family PlayShop, Baby & Me or Toddler programs or using one of the Library's Mother Goose Rhyme Books. When a parent and child complete six of the activities from the list, they are awarded a free backpack set that includes a book and creative learning toys.

"The initiative is a great resource to help parents think about learning in ways that are developmentally appropriate and fun," says Figlar.

With trained children's librarians and kid-friendly spaces, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is an ideal environment for fostering early learning skills. Says Figlar, "The Library is a place where all families can have access - a true community entity. Everyone can go to the Library for free."

>> Funding for Learning Starts Here is made possible by a grant from PNC's Grow Up Great. To enroll your child, please visit any Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh neighborhood location.

Learning Starts Here, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and PNC Growing Up Great
photo of a mother and child

Early Childhood
is a magical time
for toddlers and parents alike.
In the eyes of a child, the ordinary is full of wonder and the world is a great big place with many adventures to explore.